Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TO BE POSTED SOON ON DIAMOND BOXING.com

A little sneak peak into my weekly boxing artcle. You guys get it a day in advance:

Commissioner of Boxing


I love boxing. If you are reading this, there is almost no doubt you love boxing as well. However, despite how we might all feel about the sport, I think we can agree it is not without some significant flaws. Granted no game is perfect, but I think boxing might have a few more black eyes (no pun intended) than most. It’s about time someone got around to cleaning it up.

Which is why…today…I am officially announcing my candidacy for Universal Commissioner of Boxing!

I know what you’re thinking. It IS a big step running for such a lofty post…ESPECIALLY one that is completely imaginary and is not likely to exist now or ever. But hear me out, I’m running on a platform with a couple of key points you might agree with me on:

1) One belt for each weight division. Basically the problem here is that there are too many boxing associations and organizations. Just off of the top of my head: WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, and IBA (Don’t even ask me what they all stand for). Each organization crowns its own champs, so at the end of the day you get multiple belt holders in each division. You have dilution of title, the term “champ”, and no universally recognized #1 fighter per weight.

So my first order of business, upon becoming the Universal Commissioner of Boxing, will be to dissolve all boxing organizations save my own. There will be one, and only one, recognized champion in each weight division.

A byproduct of this decree will be that each title bout will carry more weight because it truly will be for supremacy in that weight division. Hopefully, that will draw more interest to title fights.

2) A shot clock for Larry Merchant. I fully appreciate the man’s body of work and what he has done for boxing….but man does it take this guy forever to get a thought out! He had his day, but at this point he’s clearly lost his fastball.

From the time he starts speaking I could: take a shower, make a sandwich, start my laundry, and come back in time for sentence number two. He is like Al Leiter between pitches times ten.

Here is my proposal: 10 second shot clock for Larry. From the time he starts his thought he gets ten seconds to finish. If you get to the ten second mark and hasn’t completed his take an alarm goes off and it’s just like basketball: change of possession. The “ball” goes to Lennox Lewis, Lampley, or Max Kellerman to finish Larry’s starting thought. Kind of a real life version of finish that lyric. Could be interesting.

I already know Lennox’s answer to everything: “He’s winning the fight with his jab!”

3) Improved scoring system. For some reason boxing has gotten a bad rap for being “fixed” in some circles. I’m not saying every fight in the history of sport has been completely on the “up and up”, but I think no more or less than any other sport. I’d bet my life Ricky Hatton fighting in Manchester wouldn’t get near as many homer call as Duke gets playing at Cameron Indoor or the Red Sox get in Boston.

I think one of the main culprits, in boxing getting such a bum rap, is the balky scoring system. Its inefficiencies and lack of transparency (even to the fighters themselves) can lead to some questionable decisions in certain cases. This casts an unneeded shadow over boxing. I would replace the current 10-9 per round blind scoring system with a more proficient, transparent one.

My scoring system would be public. After every round the judge’s scores would be displayed to the fighters, to those in attendance, and those watching at home. The scores will be kept up on a scoreboard much like the runs are up per inning at a baseball game. No more secretly and suspensefully revealing the judge’s scores after the fight. The main advantage of this public scoring is that the fighters will know exactly where they stand after each round. It will be like other sports where the contestants know the score as they go.

Secondly, I would allow for a round to be scored a 9-9 tie. You need to be able to call a round even. Some rounds are truly too close to call. There are so many times I’ve been watching a fight and thought to myself “That round was so close…how the hell would you score that?” Results are often more skewed over the course of 10 or 12 rounds because a judge, who has to pick a winner each round, will be more inclined to favor a certain style in every close round. I believe tie rounds will lead to more efficient scoring in fights that go the distance.

A counterargument might be that having even rounds will lead to more draws. To that I would say 1) there is just as likely a probability of a draw in the current format given the duration of most fights is an even number of rounds 2) Draws do not wear black hats. Usually, they are exciting fights. I think that if a fight is truly contested evenly, then it is more than fitting to end in a draw.

4) Erin Andrews. If I’m elected Universal Commissioner of Boxing, I promise to name America’s Favorite Sideline
reporter as my second in command. Should be worth a few extra votes huh?


If you like what you’ve read here…. in lieu of write in votes, check me out daily on my blog:
http://viewfromthecouch-dg.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Few Scattered Thoughts

I decided to entitle this entry “scattered” instead of “random”, because “random” has become one of the most overused words in the English language. People (especially Gen-Y’ers) vocabularies have become some limited that they use “random” because they are unable to come up with more situational specific words like: scattered, indiscriminant, or arbitrary. It’s a clear indication that people don’t read enough.
You might be saying “I read!”….well I’m talking about “Books, Jerry. Books…”
With that being said, let me smoothly transition into some bulleted thoughts….many of which have to do with television. Yeah, I’m a hypocrite:

- Ok so my NCAA brackets are basically busted right now. My team Pittsburgh went down the other night in one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time. I suppose because of that I have to eat a little crow, which is fair, but maybe that should be tempered somewhat by what I had written six weeks ago about Villanova. Back on February 12, I wrote:


“-Villanova gets the best guard play in the country and no one is talking about them. They handled another guard heavy team the other night then they beat up on Marquette. If Nova gets favorable match-ups and just enough out of Dante Cunningham inside they will make a deep postseason run. I like them A LOT in March. Remember I said that.”
So at least I had that insight. Ok…now you can rip on my brackets.


-I was listening to The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Radio Channel 100 last week, and Howard got into as discussion with resident in studio comic Artie Lange about the Sopranos finale from a few months back.

Now I was never a critic of the ending to the series. You know the last scene where Tony Soprano is sitting down with his family, with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” playing in the background. Right when Steve Perry gets to the third “…don’t stop.” The scene goes black. A lot of people didn’t like the ending, but I understood it. You can’t kill Tony off, because for one, it’s artistically too easy to just off him. Also, for financial reasons, you don’t want to kill the main character because you lose the opportunity to do a movie down the line. Think
Sex and the City Movie.

I had some thoughts originally what the last scene was supposed to represent, and by combining that with some of Howard’s insight I think I figured it out…and it’s brilliant.
The scene is the audiences glimpse into the paranoia that Tony Soprano has chosen. He has chosen this “mob life”, this life of crime and enemies, where he is constantly looking over his shoulder for the next guy that might be looking to whack him. The whole final season is tumultuous, with friction with the New York faction, but by the time of the final scene all has been seemingly resolved. Phil Leotardo has been killed and order has been restored.

\When Tony sits down at a restaurant to have a meal with his family he seemingly has no reason
to look over his shoulder. But we the audience do. His paranoia, has been transferred to us. We get a glimpse into Tony’s world, and we believe every restaurant patron is about to take a shot at him. We think the person coming in the door is not Meadow Soprano, but a hired hitman.

Why do we think this? We adopt Tony’s paranoia, because we assume since it’s the final episode, that there is a good chance he will be killed before the end. That is brilliant writing, because it’s an anticipation of the audience’s perceived state of mind. It also plays to one of the underlying themes of the entire series: the psychological effects brought on by this chosen life of crime (he did see a shrink every episode).
Brilliant writing, terrific ending….and I just now fully understand and appreciate it.

- While I’m on the subject of satellite radio, I‘d like to take the opportunity to say that I’m a big fan. It’s great for the car. When I’m driving I like to listen to Howard or sports talk radio, and in this regard satellite radio is way better than regular terrestrial radio. The sound quality difference between satellite radio and regular radio ends up being equivalent to the difference between high definition television versus the regular TV signal. It is way clearer with way crisper sound.

You also get about 180 extra channels to select from on satellite radio. You are not stuck with talk show hosts of the local affiliate. So if you live in New York you don’t have to be resigned to listening to Yankee YES man (pun) Michael Kay or “Egoman” Mike Francesa during the afternoon drive. Sirius also has channels that you can listen to television shows on the radio. A few times I’ve been able to listen to PTI while I’ve been driving.

Right now the per month cost of satellite radio is a little high for some people on the fringe, but before long I think the price will come down. When that happens I implore you all to try it. I bet once you have it you won’t want to go back to terrestrial radio.

Also, I’m pretty sure Sirius-XM inked a deal with Apple to include an application within the Iphone for satellite radio. Any of you that have Iphones should be on the lookout for this feature.
By the way, I’m not just up here flapping my gums. I put my money where my mouth is. Bought 4000 shares of
SIRI last week.


-No one beats the drum more for Friday Night Lights than I do, and I’m happy to announce that the best show on network television has been picked up for two more season by NBC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you have never seen this show you really ought to try it. It’s a show centered around a small town high school football team that has something for everyone. I have known dozens of girls who hate football who have given this show a go, and become hooked.
This season the writing has been the best since the end of Season 1, with appropriate send offs to two of the shows strongest characters (Jason Street the paraplegic former QB and “Smash” Williams), and a full evolution of bad-boy Tim Riggins. Also this season, you have had some added screen time for
Minka Kelly (Derek Jeter’s girl), Adrianne Palicki, and my favorite, the coach’s daughter…Aimee Teegarden, which I haven’t exactly been complaining about.
If you haven’t ever watched this show, you need to do so now. I would not steer you wrong.
-How good is Planet Earth? I really enjoy this high-def nature show. I might have to go out and get the DVD set. I missed the first half of the Louisville-Michigan State game Sunday afternoon because I got so immersed in one of these installments about the Arctic Penguins.
I picked penguins over college basketball.

-View from the Couch favorite girls right now: Katy Perry, Blake Lively, Emily Blunt, Carrie Underwood, and Julianne Hough (from Dancing with the Stars). If asked to rank them:

1) Blake Lively
2) Katy Perry
3) Julianne Hough
4) Emily Blunt
5) Carrie Underwood

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You Have Got to Love a Good Mailbag...Right?

Why can’t I afford to buy and own a decent place?

-Lavelle (age 24)
Manhattan


DG: First thought: Thank god you cannot afford a “decent” place. You’re 24 years old in New York City…the average 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment is about… I dunno….800K! If you translate New York City real estate rates to more reasonable suburban terms, 800K gets you about 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 1.5 to 2 acres, and a mini-van.

Also, if you put it in terms of Alaska cost of living, 800K would allow you to never work, play on snow-mobiles, marry a beauty queen, and live like a king. Don’t believe me? Just look at Todd Palin.

It’s ok . McCain choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate was still a good choice. I mean his only viable options boiled down to her and O.J . remember? Huh….wait you mean that’s only what I tell myself to make the night terrors go away? Oh good god.

By the way, the other day I saw a Palin 2012 sticker and I blacked out for about a half hour.

Back to the point, Lavelle, you’re probably thinking in terms of 2002…. where if you drove slow enough past a loan office with an open window, there was a good chance you’d be hit in the face with an approved mortgage. Back then people you’re age were getting outrageous mortgages approved and were getting 800K sort of places. This happened for maybe a ten year period (think mid-Clinton administration to mid to late Bush era), and created a whole half generation of people who were getting dream houses as starter homes at a very young age. But don’t confuse things; they, like you now, really could not afford the places they purchased. A large portion of those folks who bought those homes were among the first to default on their mortgages when the housing market leveled off and interest rates rose (the lion’s share of those wrongly approved mortgages were of the adjustable-interest rate variety). If you think of the housing industry trouble as a giant balloon, than these young people with large homes were basically a long rusty nail. POP!

It’s a good sign that you’re 24 and interested in a real estate investment. I also like thatr you’re level-headed enough to realize you can’t afford it. Maybe we have turned a corner. If there were more around like you 10 years ago maybe this economy would not have gone in the crapper.

What’s a better day to “take off”: Friday or Monday?

Playing hooky
-Nassau County, NY


DG: Definitely Monday. Although I do appreciate the two schools of thought at play. On the one hand, if you play hooky on a Friday, it allows you to go out Thursday and then move seamlessly into “weekend mode”. However, not showing or calling in “sick” on a Friday is a serious red flag. Your boss is sure to take notice. Could very well hurt your long-term employment potential.

I much prefer taking a Monday. In terms of total hours of work missed (my usual priority), this is the preferred route to take. Most Fridays end up being the shortest work day of the week in terms of hours. It is acceptable to both come in later AND leave earlier than usual on a Friday.

In addition, if you come in a little hung-over on a Friday morning after a boozy Thursday night? No problem Thursday is the new Friday. You’re co-workers will love the stories about your late night escapades. You’ll be the mayor for a day and an office-hero!

You come in hung-over on a couple of Tuesdays? People will whisper about your drinking problem, and you might have to pencil yourself in for a “meeting” with human resources.

Another good reason to take a Monday off? You won’t have to answer the “so…how was your weekend?”, “who’s got a case of the Monday’s”-esque questions from everyone and their mother all day long on Monday.


Your last post was interesting. What are your thoughts on "revamping" the economy?

Erin
-New York, NY

DG: Glad you enjoyed the post from the other day. Your question is a pretty complex one. It’s going to take a little while for the economy to fully rebound (I’m thinking fourth quarter this year, or first quarter next year) and there are a number of different buttons that government and regulators will have to push along the way to help us get us there.

I believe they MAY have pushed the correct one last week and yesterday when Timothy Geitner released the “Toxic Asset Bailout Plan” to buy up $1 Trillion (yes, I didn’t know that was a real number either) worth of toxic assets. These assets refer mainly to mortgage-backed securities that remain on bank balance sheets.

The reason I say this plan MAY work is that it will be successful if it does two things: 1) adds liquidity to the lending markets and 2) instill general market confidence.

Market liquidity is a big problem right now. People and institutions with cash are very wary about lending it out….especially cash strapped banks. This plan will essentially dump cash into the economy (by way of the banks), creating liquidity in the lending markets, and make borrowing between people and institutions more feasible. Think of cash as a little WD-40 on a creaky wheel. Makes it run smoother. This is a very good thing. Having liquid lending markets with “buyers” and “sellers” being able to match up essentially drives a capitalist system.

It is very important that the government show the general consumer public that they are making efforts to turn this poor economy around, even if the plan is largely a placebo. I don’t know if this “Toxic Asset Plan” will be a catalyst in turning the market around, but it’s something. It at least is an attempt to show people that the government is trying something.
There is some precedent here. Look at your history books. Many of FDR’s New Deal policies were also little more than a placebo. Hell, by and large, most of his public works sponsored programs were little more than having ten guys dig a whole and then having ten different guys fill it back in. But it worked. People believed in that and in him because they wanted to have hope.

People now are maybe a little les na├»ve then back in 1932, so I think public “hole-digging” exhibitions are out of the question, but people still want to have hope. They still want to believe that the government is going to do something to turn this mess around. The irony (or beauty…depending on how you look at it) is the belief that the market will get better is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more people believe the economy is on the upswing, the more likely it actually will begin to be.

I’m not exactly on the Obama/Geitner bandwagon with this thing just ye, but I hope it does help.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

AIG BONUS SCANDAL

Growing up you operate under the notion that the country is being run by brilliant and extraordinary people. Ivy League men and women making thoughtful and informed decisions based on expertise and acumen that is above the general comprehension of those outside their realm. It’s somewhat comforting too. Just the thought that: “Boy, if something comes up at least we have our best and brightest working on it.”

When you get older you understand that just because someone is a Congressman or Senator doesn’t mean they have superhuman brainpower and abilities, but in the back of your mind you still believe they are special. I mean there are only a select few that make it to that level….and through a general election process they have been publicly vetted to a certain extent. I have got to say, over the past few months, and more specifically in the last 5 or 6 days, I’ve become far less certain that this country is being run by the very best people. In fact, there seems to be an extremely large percentage of these people that could be categorized in either or both of these two categories: crooks and idiots.

Unless you have been under a rock the past week you’ve seen, heard, or read something about the outrageous “bonuses” that were granted to people within the financial service division at AIG. This is the same AIG that received $170 Billion….I repeat $170 BILLION in taxpayer bailout money in the fourth quarter in 2008 and is currently about 80% government owned/controlled.

Unbelievably still, even with the help of that gargantuan sum, AIG still posted fourth quarter losses of $61.7 billion loss for that same quarter. Last week, it was disclosed that AIG had paid “bonuses” to employees within their financial services division equaling about $450 million in total, and “bonuses” firm-wide equaling $1.2 billion. These bonuses were paid with U.S. taxpayer money. Think of AIG as a “wash account” for over $1 Billion in government/taxpayer money.

After this news broke last week, the requisite finger pointing began. What parties were to blame? The executives at AIG?….Absolutely. Completely irresponsible in this socio-economic climate to think it’s ok to approve and grant people those sums of money in bonuses. Especially when you were ground zero for our current economic crisis and you are funding these bonuses with handout money.

The government also to blame? Yes, even more so. How can you hand out hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money, with no stipulations on how it is to be spent? Total irresponsibly from the people whose job it is to be responsible.

The people that received the money to blame? Absolutely not. I blame the people who approved and doled out the bonuses, but you can hardly blame the people who simply received them. You may have just lost your pension, savings, retirement in the market and someone hands you a million dollars…and you’re supposed to turn around and give it back? No way.

I can understand the government’s frustration and disapproval with the AIG bonus situation. Quite frankly, they should have been embarrassed they did not have the foresight to stipulate where the government bailout money should be directed. I cannot, however understand the reasoning behind their reaction: quickly passing a law to tax any and all future bonuses at firms that received government funds at 90% !

The legislation that passed last Thursday calls for: “a 90% tax on bonuses awarded by corporations receiving more than $5 billion in Treasury aid from the TARP”. This is a “knee-jerk” response to an adverse situation and is both reprehensible and irresponsible on a few different fronts.

First off, I’m not even sure this bit of legislation is constitutional. I had to scour my memory banks from 7th grade Social Studies (something clearly the lawmakers did not do), but this bill seems to violate ex post facto. It creates legislation that changes the legal consequence of facts that existed prior to the enactment of the law. Even more Lehman’s terms: changing the rules as the game is being played. By the way, this piece of legislation that seems to be completely unconstitutional was approved by a vote of: 328 to 93 in the House.

In addition, imposing a government “salary cap” on TARP firms surely will cripple them going forward, as it will lead to a mass exodus of top-level talent. It makes sense on an individual level. Why work for one of a handful of these fully government-regulated TARP firms, and have 9 out of every 10 dollars you earn “confiscated” by Uncle Sam, when you can go elsewhere and get your full market value. If these firms lose their best workers and earners how are they ever suppose to bounce back? They won’t any time soon. And the longer it takes the Goldman Sachs and Bank of America’s of the world to get back on their feet, the longer the economy will take to recover. The greatest legacy of this past legislation might be that it ensures the further retardation of our economy.

You might be wondering how such an abominable piece of legalization can get through Congress. I had one thought. Although we tend to some up laws and pieces of legislation into a few lines, the actual documents are usually hundreds or thousands of pages long. Consider the timeline. The AIG bonus’s become public early last week….AIG CEO Edward Liddy testified before Congress on Wednesday March 18th…..and by Thursday the 19th, the bill had already been voted through the House.

Doesn’t that seem a little hasty? At what point between Liddy testifying on Wednesday and the Thursday afternoon vote, did the members of the House have a chance to read and review the thousand page law they were enacting? Is the reason the Congress of this country likely voted through a seemingly unconstitutional law because: they didn’t even really know what they were voting on? Important voting by the largely uninformed. Terrific.

Doling out taxpayer dollars in the billions without regulating what it could and couldn’t not be used for… passing hasty legislation after the fact…government endorsed “witch hunts” aimed at individuals who received money in order to cover up the irresponsible lack on initial controls by the federal government….does this really sound like the actions of our best and brightest? Shame on them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MARCH MADNESS PICKS

(Click on the bracket to enlarge)
























If you’re reading this Thursday morning you can still change your picks…

Like I promised earlier in the week, I’ve gone ahead and published my NCAA Tournament picks. Since this is so public, if I do poorly…. I fully expect….nay INVITE each and everyone one of you to criticize me as ruthlessly as you can. It’s only fair. HOWEVA’!! (picture Screamin’ Steven A. Smith saying it)…if you happen to use my picks in your own office pools…and happen to win some money….I invite….nay FULLY EXPECT you to send me a 25% of your winnings. “Somethin’ you know, for the effort.”

Hey, it’s only fair.

Some of my picks explained:

- I’ve gone ahead and picked some pretty significant upsets in the first round. However I STAYED AWAY from one that a lot of people seem to like: Arizona (12) over Utah (5)

This was an enticing pick, because Arizona has such a talented roster (they have two players, in Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, who have a good chance to be lottery picks in this upcoming NBA Draft). However I just could not pull the trigger. I had one question: With such a deep and talented roster, why were they not able to pick up any good road wins? Take a
look. There best road win is at…. Oregon State? They lost to every other decent team they played on the road. Since this game is being played in Miami, and not Tucson, I’m taking the Utes.

- The 5-12 upset I do like is Western Kentucky (12) over Illinois (5). I have not been impressed by Illinois at all this year. They have struggled offensively at times and played in a weak Big Ten Conference. In addition, they are without their point guard Chester Frazier. Western Kentucky is a solid team with tourney experience. I like this upset.

- Ok…I didn’t take my own earlier advice and got caught up in the hype: Mississippi State (13) over Washington (4). I might regret that one.

- I made some of my bolder picks in the Midwest region. USC is a boom or bust team. Picking them to win two games is a big risk. Possibly make or break. They underachieved all year but finally put it together in the Pac-10 tournament. Another reason why I like them: I have them playing a VERY overrated Michigan State team in the second round. I was chomping at the bit for a good opportunity to pick against the Spartans.

-I really like West Virginia. They seem to always surprise and win a few games in March. They are good athletic team that plays team defense and consistently makes shots. I was also encouraged by the deep run they made in the Big East Tournament a week ago.

-I didn’t….but someone please have the balls to pick Texas to beat those marshmallow-soft Duke Blue Devils in round 2! Please.

- Like I said in my Mid-Season report, Ty Lawson was and is the most important player in the entire country. He gets Carolina points in transition, protects the ball, and gets his teammates easy buckets. With him 100% healthy, UNC would be my pick to win the whole thing. As it stands now however, they are not sure if he will play in either of the first two rounds, and certainly when he returns he will not be 100% at any point. In the recent ACC Tournament, UNC struggled to beat Virginia Tech and then lost to Florida State without Lawson in the lineup.

Unless he makes a miraculous recovery, they will have a hard time getting to the Final Four, because they could potentially play a team like Oklahoma, Syracuse, or Arizona State in the round of eight. By the way, don’t sleep on the Sooners. They were a dominant team early this year before Blake Griffin got hurt, and if he’s back to full strength he is the best player in the whole field.

-If not the Tar Heels than who?

From about mid-season on I have really liked the Pittsburgh Panthers. I had the opportunity to watch quite a few of their games this year, and was struck by how complete a team they were. Good point guard in Levance Fields, solid big man in Blair, excellent role players, and a top notch all-around player in Sam Young. In fact, if Pitt ends up winning the whole thing I’m going to go ahead and say the unheralded Young will be the MOP of the Final Four. He’s that good and I think his team is that solid. I’m not worried about a few losses along the way (mid-season to Providence and a 14 point loss to WVU in the Big East a week ago).

The one thing that does scare me about Pitt: recent struggles they have had in the NCAA’s. They haven’t seemed to be able to get over the Sweet Sixteen hump. However, until last year, you could have said the same thing about Kansas under Coach Bill Self. All they did? Break through and win a National Championship.

I’m hoping (and so is my wallet) that I’m right about Pitt being this year’s Kansas. Oh…and if I win….all mine. Not sharing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Heads Up

For those of you who are interested in boxing, you can read me again this week at DiamondBoxing.com:

http://www.diamondboxing.com/newsstory.php?list=6689

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday Redux

I plan on releasing my full NCAA Brackets at some point this week. Not sure exactly what day just yet. I’ve haven’t quite decided what my Final Four is going to be nor have I figured out which first round upset I’m going to pick. For now just a few quick-hitter thoughts and some advise in filling out your brackets:

Kudos to the Selection Committee. I was in transit to NYC during the 6 o’ clock selection show, and I fully expected to turn on ESPN when I got to my apartment and see Dicky V ranting and raving about what team got snubbed from the Big Dance, “ARE YOU SERIOUS BABY WITH A CAPITAL S!!!! DIPSY DOO HOSE-A-ROOO!!!”

To my surprise, however, the NCAA Tournament Selection by and large got it right. In fact in all the years I’ve been following college basketball this may be the best job of selecting and seeding teams that I’ve seen. My one gripe is about too many Big Ten teams represented in the field of 64, but that’s also my gripe every year (more below).

During an interview with ESPN, The President of the Selection Committee said that Saint Mary’s was the first team left out. Therefore, we can assume the final debate same down to: Arizona (at a 12 seed the highest seeded at-large team in the field of 64) vs. Saint Mary’s. I completely agree with choosing Arizona over Saint Mary’s. Although, Saint Mary’s has a gaudier win-loss record and presumably a higher RPI (computer formula ranking), I’ve always felt that it’s not a matter of computer rankings or number of wins that should determine who makes the NCAA’s but rather: who have you beaten? What good wins do you have?

Arizona holds quality wins this year over: Kansas, Gonzaga, San Diego State, USC and UCLA. While Saint Mary’s best win is over an NIT bound Providence squad. Moreover, the best team they played the entire year (Gonzaga) beat them twice.

In making your selections be wary of the BIG TEN. Every year the Big Ten (which by the way is a ridiculous name for a conference with 11 schools….seriously) gets a six or seven teams in the “Big Dance” and then by the second weekend there is maybe one left. Like clockwork they got 7 teams there again this year.

I have many theories as to why the Big Ten has always gotten so many teams in the NCAA tourney and then had so many bow out early. In fact, many of these are the same reasons why the Big Ten has such a poor college football bowl record as well.

These reasons include but are not exclusive to: inferior athletes, television exposure which inflates the value of teams leading to higher than warranted rankings (looking squarely at you Michigan State), huge alumni bases that travel well making them financially attractive postseason selections, a slow-down brand of half court basketball which may work in conference play but does not lend itself to the frantic full court type games which occur in March.

Another problem is that they get teams into the tourney based on performance in the Big Ten regular season….but how much value should we assess to that?

Take Wisconsin as an example. They played three tournament teams in their non-conference schedule…and lost all three: Marquette, to UConn on a neutral court by 20, and to Texas at home. Therefore, the reason they made the field of 64 was because of their “strong” 10-8 Big Ten record.

But what does a 10-8 record in the Big Ten mean? Is that even really any good? If you have a slightly winning record in a conference that perennially disappoints in the post-season, has lost EVERY…I repeat EVERY ACC/Big Ten Challenge contested (there have been 10), and whose best team (Michigan State) lost in their backyard in Detroit earlier this season to a shorthanded UNC team by 35 points….does that even make you a good team? Probably not.

For these reasons I’m going to pick against the Big Ten again this year.

Be wary of so called “Hot Teams”. Every year there are teams that come into the NCAA tourney on a roll. They’ve won a number of games in a row and/or made deep runs in their conference tournaments. These teams usually become very popular, chic picks to win a bunch of games in some people’s brackets.

However, in many instances these teams disappoint with early exits. An example that comes to mind is the streaky Syracuse team that, in 2006, won 4 games to claim the Big East Tournament Title and then were upset in the first round by a more consistent Texas A&M team.

Mississippi State comes in hot this year, having won the SEC title today, and will be a popular pick to upset Washington in the first round. Hint: I wouldn’t be so quick to take that upset.

Since some teams have to wait five, six, or seven days from the end of their respective conference tournaments to play their first round NCAA Tournament games. With that type of lay off match-ups become more important than momentum.

Some other “hot” teams to be careful of: USC, Purdue, Oklahoma State, and Maryland




Good luck with your brackets. I’ll release mine soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Wonderful Mailbag!

Q: What’s next for Terrell Owens?

-Tim
New York, NY

DG: You cannot believe how disappointed I am that Owens signed with the Bills over the weekend. I had a whole “Where will Owens land?” article locked and loaded. It was going to be “rip city” folks. What a shame.

I guess the silver lining is the fact that since he is going to start the season in Buffalo, I can put my article on ice for a little while, and use it about this time next year. You can read into that: I don’t see this ending well.

Don’t get me wrong I think the Bills made a shrewd business decision by signing the mercurial receiver, because he will help bring attention and dollars to upstate NY….but I don’t think the Bills realize what they getting into.

They are in for one tumultuous season. I’m not sure it’s exactly tremendous for locker room chemistry when you bring in a guy who owns the line: “I love me some me”. I’m not kidding…look it up he owns the rights to it! I owe him a dime just for using it in this blog.

I don’t think Owens knows what he’s getting into either. Can’t you just imagine this exchange between TO and his agent Drew Rosenhaus at some point next season:

TO: “Drew, the craziest thing just happened….its November and there is a foot of snow on the ground!”

Rosenhaus: “Wow T.O that almost never happens!… (then under his breath)….most of the time it starts snowing in October.”

TO: “These people up here are crazy too. They be drinking this stuff called “pop”....I never even heard of it.

I got that 4 mil up front so…you gotta get my ass out of here…what you need me to do? I got tons of tricks up my sleeve: scream at the coaches, drop every other pass thrown my way, publicly question Trent Edwards sexuality, teary public man-cry breakdown moment…its all gold….I got all that.”

Rosenhaus:
“One step ahead of you ’81. Got you an out. Already got Al Davis on line 1. He wants you baaaaaadddd! But there is a catch. He’s offering a long term deal and big money…..but he also thinks its 1975 and he wants to run it by Kenny Stabler first. We’ll work through it. TO, let me patch my inner monologue through on line 2. He wants to say something.”

Drew Rosenhaus’s inner monologue: “I smell me some money money money money money money money money money money money!”

I’m going to go ahead and set the over/under for number of TO starts in Buffalo at 10. I’ll take the under. Anyone want the other side?

Q: The female CNBC anchors are the only thing getting me through this economy. Who are your favorites?

-Charles
New York, NY

DG: I’ve gotten sent this question at least twice before, and had this conversation privately on numerous occasions. This is a pretty typical trading floor conversation during a low volume day. To that end I’ve given this some thought, and I feel pretty good about my rankings. This is my top 5:

5)
Maria Bartiromo – How could the original “Money Honey” not make the top 5? Once a perennial number one contender, she has seemed flustered by the recent economic crisis. Every time the market drops a few hundred points her voice cracks, she looks bewildered, disheveled, and somewhat panic-ridden. I could have sworn I saw some sweat beads forming last week. If there was a sports equivalent to Maria right now, it would have to be Michael Jordan in comeback #2 with the Washington Wizards. At times showing flashes of former brilliance, but when the big lights are on, is exposed to be a little over the hill, a little out of shape, and a little past their prime.

4)
Rebecca Jarvis – a poor man’s Erin Burnett

3)
Erin Burnett - a rich man’s Rebecca Jarvis. Speaking of rich…sounds like you need to be a VERY rich man to “court” Ms. Burnett. Private yoga instructor to her apartment? Fly her parents to Australia? Can she really be serious? And she has the presence of mind to make sure to specify “business class” tickets? Jeez…this is the worst over-valuation of someone’s own worth since…wait I already used the Jordan analogy didn’t i?…damn. Ok, how about worst over-valuation since Costanza demanded “the Ted Danson plane!”.

2)
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera – Do I detect a little bit of a Mr. Robinson quality to her? Also, and maybe it’s just me, but sometimes she appears just about ready to wink at the camera. Maybe? No? Ok well it’s my list and I think she’s trying to wink at me. Boy, I need to pay attention more at work.

1)
Trish Regan - kind of a cute, Pam Beesly-esque, girl next door cute quality her. Plus, I catch her on the Today Show quite a bit, so she has the advantage of being on the screen BEFORE the market opens sometimes- and hence BEFORE I lose all my money everyday. Paints her in a more positive light.


Q: DG, can you do me a huge favor…..whatever you do….in 2009 DO NOT let me dance the cachucha on “Dancing with the Stars?”

-Lawrence Taylor (circa 1987)

DG: Look I had a wonderful childhood. I had the privilege of being a kid the late 1980’s and early 1990’s (and some would argue that late 20th century and early 21st century). Golden age to grow up.

If you think of my childhood as a grand Parthenon-like architectural monument, then two of the main pillars holding up the entire structure up would be: Indiana Jones and Lawrence Taylor. Very important figures to me growing up. Over the course of the past six months however, major cannon balls to these pillars have necessitated a serious reevaluation on my part.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the first movie I ever saw at the theatre. It’s the reason I love movies. It’s still in my top 5 all-time. I was “baby playing in water” level excited to go see the most recent Indian Jones flick. However, this installment was so HORRIBLE I will not now, nor will I ever refer to it by name.

It was so bad it almost serves to discredit the other three previous films, as well as Harrison Ford as an actor, and George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as filmmakers. You don’t believe in karma? Spielberg makes “the movie that shall not be named” and then loses a hundred million bucks with Bernie Madoff. Fair cosmic retribution if you ask me.

I kid you not when I say that seeing the last Indy movie was one of the most disappointing moments of my entire life (I’m embarrassed but it’s true). I thought nothing could ever again be so jarring….that is until I saw Lawrence Taylor the other night.

LT ......the biggest, fastest, meanest SOB you ever saw on a football field…. shattered Joe Theisman’s leg… struck fear into the heart’s of every offensive player who ever lined up against him....a true freak of nature who redefined the position of outside linebacker, greatest defensive football player of all time…
wearing a shiny, puffy shirt dancing the cha-cha on Dancing with the Stars.

It was like someone took a sledge-hammer right to my solar plexus. I can’t even give the dude a mulligan either. He actually said dancing was harder than playing in the NFL! Ugggghhhh!!!!!

Indiana Jones a joke? LT… a ballroom dancer? Hell, now I suppose anything is possible. Maybe Reagan was really a communist? Maybe Michael Jackson is normal and the rest of us weird? Maybe Don Mattingly was rocking fake sideburns?

O god…call an ambulance…I think I’m going to be sick.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT

Don't be alarmed....but I revamped the look of the site. I think I'm going to do this periodically....maybe the colors will trick people into reading this silly thing (eh hem.... personal indulgence). Couple of other changes:

- I've made it easier to post comments and questions by adding a feature that allows you to enter comments Anonymously without having to sign up. I'm hoping people will be more willing to challenge my lists and opinions....or rip me. That would be cool too.

- Also recently made the site Google searchable, hopefully this will scare up some extra interest

- Lastly, you may be seeing some advertising in the sidebars and at the bottom of the posts in the near future...hey this thing doesn't pay for itself

Full Monty’s

I usually try to stick to what I consider my forte: writing mainly about sports, current events, and popular culture, while occasionally throwing in a political or economic thought or two when it seems necessary.

Today, if you’ll allow me some latitude, I’d like to go off the beaten path a bit. I would like to broach a very sensitive subject of some seriousness. It has the potential to affect roughly half of this country’s population on any given day, and warrants at least a mention. I’d also like to start the dialogue with one simple (albeit Seinfeld-like) question: What’s the deal with naked guys at the gym?

I’m surely not alone when I say that I am totally weirded out by the amount of unnecessary and excessive male nudity that many are subjected to at the gym. And I think the problem might be reaching epidemic levels.

Most guys know exactly what I’m talking about. For some reason there is a certain percentage of the male population that loves to walk around naked in the locker room. However conservative these fellas’ might be at home, they get in that closed space with other dudes and they insist on subjecting complete strangers to their man parts. Unlike most major problems facing this country, this over-exposure problem is not political, racial, or socio-economic….however it might have some “age-ist” tendencies…but I’ll get to that.

I spend as little time in these gym locker rooms situations as humanly possible. I basically try to get in, change my shoes, try my best not to bump into any naked dudes, and get out as quick as possible. Shower at home whenever possible. No conversations. No naked time. I think I’m in the majority in this regard.

Although I spend as little time as possible in the locker room, I’ve been to the gym enough times in my life to classify the minority into types. Feel free to think of these as categories….archetypes…or a low-level animal classification system:

1) “Air Dry” Guy: This guy likes to shower at the gym, and then pulls a Rod Tidwell and goes sans towel. This species is noted for the length of nudity (until he is dry enough to put clothes on) and the uncomfortable nature of his nudity (the only thing worse than being stuck next to a naked stranger is a naked stranger who is dripping wet).

2) Abracadabra Guy: Has the presence of mind cover up with a towel upon exiting the shower, and makes you think maybe it’s safe…..maybe he’ll keep it on. However, when he gets near your locker he rips off the towel in one swift move. Think of the move a magician makes over his veiled hat…only a magician usually makes something like a rabbit disappear….. and this guy makes something that looks like a rabbit appear. Yeah.

3) The Mirror Guy: This clown loves himself so much, that gets naked and looks at himself in the mirror for an extended period of time. The mirror doubles everyone’s “pleasure”. Not only do you have one naked pruning, posing, narcissist moron but you have his exact mirror image making kissy faces back at him. Oh and by the way, this is usually the same dude who rocks the three pounds of hair gel, half a bottle of cologne, and sports the year round “bronzo-perma tan”.

In some circles this character even goes my a specific proper name: Brody Jenner.

4) Scale Guy: Refuses to weigh himself with anything on. Drops down to his birthday suit to get on the scale. He believes that wearing boxer shorts on the scales would so skew the reading that it would render it useless. “Phew…good thing I’m naked, or else I might have weighed .001 pounds more than I do right now.”

5) Old Guys: O man I’m even uncomfortable writing about these dudes. Ok…so I don’t have to make everyone uncomfortable by going too much detail, I’m going to sum up my entire take with one word: Gravity.


(hey, be happy I didn’t use a phrase like “Drop Anchor”…oh wait…)

6) Casual Naked Guy: The most curious of all the naked species. Does everything in his power to make you think he has clothes on. Although exposing all of his “man nether regions” this guy otherwise acts completely normal. He combs his hair, uses his cell phone, checks the gym schedule, chats up other clothed gym members about the Yankees, cars, or what have you…to such an extent that you almost forget he is essentially buck naked in a public place . Do not be fooled by this character. There is nothing normal about trading stock tips with a guy whose manhood in blowing in the wind.

I’ve now done my civic duty. I’ll let this article serve as both a public service announcement and a survival guide. Now that you know all the species that are out there you’ll be better equipped to protect yourself.

Good luck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

UPDATED** First Round NFL MOCK DRAFT

In the past few weeks, there have been quite a few shake-ups in NFL free agency and the Scouting Combine that will have an effect on this year’s first round. Thought I might update my original First Round Mock Draft:

(to compare….this was the previously posted mock draft:
http://viewfromthecouch-dg.blogspot.com/2009/02/first-round-nfl-mock-draft.html )

**Updated MOCK DRAFT**:

1) DETROIT LIONS: Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia) – Initially, I had thought the Lions were about 50/50 between taking a tackle or a quarterback. After letting both QB Dan Orlovsky and Jon Kitna leave via free agency, and Andre Smith going AWOL at the combine (literally he disappeared when he was supposed to working out and no one knew where he was), I believe they have set themselves up not only to take Stafford #1, but also install him as the started from Day 1.

2) St. LOUIS RAMS: Jason Smith (T, Baylor)- I still like the Rams to take a tackle as the heir apparent to Orlando Pace, but questions about his character have Andre Smith plummeting down the draft boards. Smith worked out the best of any of the tackles at the combine, and appears to be the most athletic. Eugene Monroe warrants consideration as well.

3) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest)- Best workout of any player in the whole draft in Indianapolis (for the NFL combine). Looked big, fast, and athletic. Could very well be the best overall player in the draft. Chiefs are hoping that they have a chance to take him here.

4)SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Eugene Monroe (T, Virginia)- The Seahawks landed a Pro Bowl receiver in T.J. Houshmandzadeh via free agency, so WR isn’t as glaring a need as it was pre-free agency. Crabtree is still a possibility, but I think they will go OT with this pick. The prospect of getting a player like Monroe to be the successor to an aging Walter Jones at LT is too good to pass up.

5) CLEVLAND BROWNS: Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas)- Browns got rid of Kellen Winslow last week, so TE is a need for them, but it’s too early to take any of the top TE prospects. I had them taking Orakpo before and I still like him here at pick #5.

6) CINCINNATI BENGALS: Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech)- Crabtree is a good value here and fits a need. Having lost Houshmandzadeh in free agency, they really need a big sure-handed WR.


Crabtree would be happy to go this high in the draft. The Texas Tech WR measured in a little shorter at the Combine than expected (listed at 6’4” he measured in at little over 6’1”), and also will not workout for any teams because of a broken foot. I actually wonder if he may have benefited from being injured. Had he run a slow forty time (in the 4.7 range) it would have been a bigger concern to NFL teams than a foot injury. Could have dropped him out of the top 10.

7)OAKLAND RAIDERS: Andre Smith (T, Alabama)- Since the Raiders need a top tackle prospect, and they have been a haven for players with “character issues” over the years….. I’ll bet they take Andre Smith here.

Very ironic: Smith was suspended from the Sugar Bowl for being connected to a professional agent….then went AWOL at the combine and cited “lack of an agent” as the reason he did not notify teams that he inexplicably flown home. Sounds like a Raider to me.
.
8) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: B.J Raji (DT, Boston College)- Jags would like to see either Smith LT or Eugene Monroe fall to them at the seventh pick, but if that doesn't happen I think they go with Raji. They will also have their eye on QB Mark Sanchez, however, I think shoring up there defensive front by selecting the best interior defensive line prospect in the draft will take precedent.

9)GREEN BAY PACKERS: Vontae Davis (C, Illinois)- I originally had them tacking Davis and I’m sticking with him. Best all around athlete of any CB in this draft. Ohio State defensive back Malcolm Jenkins could have been an option here as well, however he ran forty times nearing 4.6 in Indy, and is now thought to be a better fit at safety

10) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Mark Sanchez (QB, USC)- I had them taking Sanchez previously and I still like them to select the former USC signal caller. He most likely won’t start in year one, but could end up being a very good NFL Quarterback down the line.

11) BUFFALO BILLS: Everette Brown (DE, Florida State)- Will almost certainly take a DE with this pick. I have Brown rated as my #2 DE in this draft, and he would be a good addition to the Bills.

12) DENVER BRONCOS: Brian Cushing (LB, USC) – Broncos have proven to be a bit of a wild card this offseason. First firing Mike Shanahan, then signing an army of players in free agency, and finally shopping Jay Cutler of late (although it looks like he’ll be back). I had them taking Maualuga in my first mock draft, but his college teammate Cushing worked out better and I think they will draft him to man the outside backer spot in Denver.

13) WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State)- They cut Jason Taylor and need a DE. Maybin is undersized and might just be a situational pass rusher early in his career, but I think the 'Skins would jump at the chance to get a speedy edge rusher.

14) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Rey Maualuga (LB, USC)- Team that needs an outside linebacker. Although Maualuga played the inside in college, his size should allow him to transition to the outside in the NFL.

15) HOUSTON TEXANS: Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU)- In my opinion WAY too early for Jackson at pick #15. However, the Texan’s biggest need is at DE opposite Mario Williams, and Houston has been known to reach for picks. They took T Duane Brown out of Virginia Tech in the first round last year when he carried a mid-second round grade on most draft boards.

16) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri)- Still like the Chargers to take Maclin. They can afford to make a bit of a luxury pick. Can you imagine how explosive this team will be on third down with Darren Sproles and Maclin on the field at the same time?

17) NEW YORK JETS: Darius Heyward-Bey (WR,Maryland) – After letting Laveranues Coles walk in free agency WR is a good pick for Gang Green. They SHOULD take Percy Harvin, but I believe they will be too enamored with Hayward-Bey’s 6’2” frame and 4.3 speed (fastest player in the whole draft) to pass him up.

18) CHICAGO BEARS: Percy Harvin (WR, Florida)- Would be smart to take Harvin with this pick, but don’t be too surprised if the Bears make a shocking selection (and a mistake) and draft QB Josh Freeman out of Kansas State. Big guy with a big arm….they will think he makes sense as a future QB to throw in the wind and cold in Chicago.

19) TAMPA BAY BUCS: James Laurinaitis (LB, Ohio State)- Tough one to call for the Bucs at #19. Would be taking a RB if they hadn’t picked up Derrick Ward in free agency. Linebacker is a need since Derrick Brooks was cut, however they would take Heyward-Bey or Harvin if they fell this far.

20) DETROIT LIONS: Malcolm Jenkins (CB/S, Ohio State)- DB is a good selection for the Lions with their second first round pick. If it's me making the pick I go with Alphonso Smith from Wake Forest, but I think they would more likely go with Jenkins and play him at both CB and S.

21) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Chris “Beanie” Wells (RB, Ohio State)- Big bruising (but slow) running back is a good pick for the Eagles as a compliment for Brian Westbrook.

Side not: Is anyone really surprised that two OHIO STATE guys, in Wells and Jenkins, ran much slower than expected 40 times at the Combine? You know guys who played for the teams that looked like they were stuck in the mud when Florida and LSU players blazed past them in ’07 and ’08 National Championship games.

22) MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Jared Cook (TE, South Carolina)- Still like them to take a TE but this time I’m going with Jared Cook from South Carolina instead of Brandon Pettigrew. He ran 4.5 at the combine. VERY fast for a tight end. He also proved to be a smooth athlete in the drills. Cook will have to work on his blocking to be a complete NFL Tight End.

23) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Sean Smith (CB, UTAH)- I think I made a shrewd selection here in my previous Mock Draft. Smith is very much a “Patriots guy” in that he is a versatile player who, at 6’3” and 214 pounds, could play both CB or S.

24) ATLANTA FALCONS: Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss)- Had Jerry here before and still like the Falcons to select him at pick #24. Very important for a young team to get a good interior defensive lineman.

25) MIAMI DOLPHINS: Clay Matthews (LB, USC)- Could really use a WR, but Matthew is the type of high effort, high motor player that Parcell's loves. Three USC ‘backers could go in the first round.

26) BALTIMORE RAVENS: Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest) – They cut Chris McCalister earlier this year and lost Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott to free agency. Will pick a defensive player with this pick. Will most likely take the highest rated DB still in the draft. n this case Smith.

27) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina)- Polished receiver to help fill the Marvin Harrison void. Could also pick a DT. Would take Peria Jerry if he fell this far.

28) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Michael Oher (T, Ole Miss)- It just hard to imagine a guy like still being here at this point. A good chance a team from the second round would come up to get him. If he is here to be taken, the Eagles would count their blessings.

29) NEW YORK GIANTS: Clint Sintim (LB, Virginia)- Sticking with Sintim. Hoping the G-Men resist the temptation to select…..


30) TENNESSEE TITANS: Kenny Britt (WR, Rutgers)- Very much a reach to go in the first round. But his size will entice some teams. Titans desperately need a WR (seems like this is the case every year), and would ideally get Nicks or Heyward-Bey if they were available at the 30th pick. Also, people in Nashville should be on red alert: Terrell Owens could be coming to town. No team is in more need of a playmaking WR.

31) ARIZONA CARDINALS: LeSean McCoy (RB, Pittsburgh)- Had them taking Moreno originally, but he ran too slow at the combine. UConn RB Donald Brown would be a sleeper pick for the Cardinals here as well.

32) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Duke Robinson (G, Oklahoma)- If the Steelers don’t get some offensive line help, Big Ben is going to have a very short career. A lot of the sacks that he took came up the middle, so taking the top guard in the draft makes a lot of sense from where I’m sitting (eh hem…..my couch).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Ricky Fatton

I am an unabashed fan of Ricky Hatton. No question about it. In the ring he is a dynamo. I love the constant pressure and constant action. I love the brawling style. Sure it might cause him to lose some fights to more technically sound boxers. For example his only career loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in December 2007 (although he is addressing that by bringing Floyd Sr. into his camp). That being said, his exciting style turns the dial. I love to watch him fight. I love to watch the dude go to war.

However, if Hatton in the ring is Dr. Jekyll, than out of the ring he morphs into Mr. Hyde- or more appropriately…his nickname….Ricky Fatton.

Between fights, the 5’6” fighter who usually fights at the junior welterweight (140 pound limit), balloons up to as much as 175-180 pounds! He does this by adhering to a strict daily regime of sausage and peas washed down by a few dozen pints of Guinness. He often has to spend much of his pre-fight training camps wearing sweat gear and cutting massive amounts of weight. In many instances making weight is a major concern even come fight week.

Now Hatton is far too professional and has far too much money to lose not to make weight for his May 2 fight with Pacquio, however I am worried about his prospects for this fight and going forward.

Coming off the upset win over De La Hoya, Pacquio might be the best fighter in the world right now. To beat him you have to be on top of your game, in tip top shape, and prepared to go to war for 12 rounds. Cutting that much weight in a short period of time can definitely take a toll on your body. He’s been doing it for years, but if Ricky is fighting the scales coming into the fight, who is to say his body won’t be too drained to have anything left for Manny? At the very least it could be a distraction that could disrupt other pre-fight preparations.

And what about going forward? I want to see Hatton fight for years, but the fighters who have had the longest and most successful careers have done the opposite of Hatton between fights. They’ve trained nearly all year round in order to stay in shape, and near their fighting weight. Look at a guy like Bernard Hopkins. I’m not a huge fan, but I have to admire the way he has been obsessive about his training. He’s managed to stay relevant in boxing well into his 40’s. Even Hopkins, who fought most of his career at 160 pounds, always had the height and size to move up in weight as he did later on. At a diminutive 5’6”, Hatton is best suited at the 140 pound limit. Even a move to 147 would put him in the ring with welterweights like the Antonio Margarito’s and Paul Williams of the world-- fighters with size and length that he can’t compete with. He needs to stay at 140 to be a world class fighter, and putting on 40+ pounds in between fights is not helping this.

No matter what your opinion of Ricky Hatton is in the ring, one thing is not up for debate: Boxing needs him. In a time where boxing is losing fans to other forms of combat fighting, like MMA and cage fighting, and even some championship fights don’t even sell out, Hatton is a major draw. In fact he is probably the biggest draw in boxing. How many other fighters could bring 30,000 British fans with him to Vegas? (go ahead and let a rousing rendition of “Hatton Wonderland” fill your subconscious)? 30,000 fans came to Vegas, yet only five or six thousand actually had tickets to get inside the arena. That’s the drawing power of Hatton.

Here’s to hoping Ricky Hatton has lost the fat suit, is in camp, and is serious about preparing for his May 2nd showdown with Pacquio. Win, lose, or draw lets also hope he’s planning on a long career after that as well.

Boxing would be better for having him around for a while.



you can also view this article at: http://diamondboxing.com/newsstory.php


Or:
http://www.mannypacquiao.ph/

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stock Up/ Stock Down Report

Stock Up: NBC Network moving Conan O’Brian to 11:30PM-“HHHhheeeeeerrrrrrrrrreeee’ssssss Cooonnaaan!” Kudos to NBC for tabbing Conan O’Brien to replace Jay Leno in the 11:30 PM Tonight Show slot. Having long languished in relative obscurity at the insomniac 12:30 AM time slot, Conan moves to 11:30 on June 1 of this year.

You may not have noticed, but Conan has been the best late night host going for quite a while. His brand of comedy is much edgier than that of the “Superman of politically correct comedy” Jay Leno. However, Jay will be a tough act to follow. Leno has routinely played to “middle America” with his super safe comedy, gotten huge ratings, and routinely beaten David Letterman. I’m hoping Conan does well enough to stick around for a while….. I don’t think I will ever get tired of
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

I also like Jimmy Fallon to replace Conan at 12:30 (even though he’s a Red Sox fan from Saugerties, New York)

Stock Down: NBC putting Jay Leno at 10 PM- How can you give Conan the 11:30 slot and then sabotage him by putting Leno at 10 PM? How many people are going to watch an hour talk show and then come back a half hour later (after the 11 clock news) to watch the same type of show? This is going to steal Conan’s audience as well as potential guests. Give the guy a chance at least…cmon!

Stock Up: Giants sign former University of Virginia DE Chris Canty- The Giants got much more physical and versatile along the defensive line by signing Canty during the free agency period last week. At 6-7 and 300 pounds Canty has the ability to play either defensive tackle or defensive end. His size and ability to occupy blockers will also free up Osi and Justin Tuck to get loose along the edges, and get to the quarterback. Also, don’t be surprised if Canty explodes up the middle for a few sacks of his own.
Is it me or did the Giants never bat down any throws by an opposing QB last year? With very long arms Canty will also add that much needed “shot block” ability.

At the very least, the G-Men steal a solid player away from the Cowboys….especially one of the only guys they had who hasn’t been a bombastic locker room disruption. And don’t forget the Giants won a Super Bowl two years ago by stocking up on talent at DE.

Stock Down: Jets sign LB Bart Scott- Scott is an ok signing (although they overpaid for him at 6 years and $48 million), but I would have liked to see the Jets address a need for a pass rusher.

The Jets will now have to again address this need in the draft…that is unless 2008 #6 overall pick Vernon Gholston stops looking at his muscles in the mirror and attempts to play football. Hey Jets fans….did you know Gholston made $21 Millions dollars last year for 5….count ‘em 5 total solo tackles? FIVE! If it weren’t for Kirstie Alley periodically paying a nutritionist and Donald Trump paying a hair stylist, these would be the worst spent dollars in history.

Stock Down: Manny Ramirez (with an assist from Agent Scott Boras)- So far Manny and Boras (also Arod’s agent) have turned down three offers from the Dodgers since last season ended: 2 years for $45 million, 1 year for $25 million, and 1 year for $25 Million with a $20 Million dollar player option. The last rejected offer is especially perplexing. Basically, the offer from the Dodgers entails guaranteeing Manny $25 Million for next year….then in 2010 he has the choice to a) play in LA for $20 Million at his discretion (no matter how he plays this year) or b) shop himself in the free agent market next year and see if he can find more money or a long term deal….and then if he doesn’t get it he can take the money from the Dodgers no questions asked.

Oh by the way another little wrinkle: there are no other offers out there. The only other teams that could even afford him (Yanks, Sox, Cubs, Angels, Mets, and maybe the Angels) have no interest at this point.

Boras is on record that he will hold out for 4 years and $120 Million.

In a similar vein, Sandy Koufax is holding out for Bernie Madoff to return his money, Anne Coulter is holding out for an Obama cabinet appointment, and I’m holding out on buying a monthy subway pass with the hope I can ride a Unicorn to work.

On the other hand….

Stock Up: To whatever good stuff Boras is smoking